Days 20 & 21: Of Airports, Major Cities and Prospies.
6 October, 2009 § Leave a comment
Bright and early Saturday morning, I packed everything up, shoved my tri-fold display board into the bottom of my suitcase and managed to fit in everything else around it – – seriously, there’s gotta be a Murphy’s Law for travelers that explains the manner in which things always seem to expand explosively on the return trip – – and then headed out to the Denver airport to return my lovely red wheels and hop on a plane to Minneapolis. In all honesty, after traveling as consistently as I’ve done for the past three and a half weeks, the allure of airports has been tarnished a bit… but only a very little. I still love them. I will always love them. The coming and the going, the sense of anticipation, the eavesdropping, the small moments of hilarity, the pressure, the instant camraderie found in a shared half-naked look of people’s feet when they take their shoes off to go through the metal detectors… yes.
Anyways, after about ten hours of traveling (including a brief layover in St. Paul, MN that turned into a long sitting on the runway; I actually fell asleep about ten minutes into the whole shindig and woke up very bewildered when they started announcing the serving of drinks over the intercom – – I thought we were still on the tarmac so you can imagine my complete confusion when I looked out the window and saw acres of brown and green farm circles instead of gray pavement), I landed in Chicago for the first time in over six years.
O, what a crazy city! I love the energy this place has, even at ten at night, and the fierce pride Chicago-dwellers have in their residence. My scrumptiously Italian shuttle driver (seriously, his name was Mario. I kid you not) regaled me with the “inside” scoop on Chi-town as he transported me from the curbside of O’Hare to the rental car agency. Highlights included: abstaining from talking on the cell-phone within city limits; paying all parking meters since the governor just lost some sort of debate or something and was “still hungover, that guy;” eating at the original John & Something’s Hot Dog joint; taking the L into town instead of driving; and deep-dish pizza. Let me tell you, when I mentioned that Chicago is actually my birthplace, his entire visage lit up and there entered an instant note of acceptance and friendship into our conversation… it was like magic.
The only negative aspect of the day was the fact that when I picked up my rental car, a sweet little silver Aveo, that rainy, cloudy evening, it was stamped with the unmistakable odor of second-hand smoke, uneffective cleaning detergent and three-day old mints. Ickh. My solution? Drive with the windows down whenever I won’t be instantly accosted by grizzled veterans bearing cardboard signs and asking for money on every other street corner.
My time with a prospie and her family in West Chicago turned from a mere church-and-lunch date to a delightful, entire day-long visit. I think all parties left feeling blessed by the exchange – – I loved being in a home, with a family and out of a moving vehicle; Chris enjoyed the chance to banter about international travel with a fellow dabbler; Denise relished talking about all three of her daughters whom she adores; and Sarah was stoked to pump me with questions about the place she’s considering calling home next fall. All in all, a walk around the neighborhood (complete with dog on leash), a bowl of delicious soup, three glasses of water, a slice of pumpkin pie and a lot of meaningful conversation later, my Sabbath was unexpectedly delightful. Thank you, W—- family!
Photo of the Day
The spilling contents of my ever-voluminous Mary Poppins sling-bag,
including a bottle of ibuprofen, a clipboard,
two pairs of earphones, a highlighter, five pens, a moleskin journal,
an empty packet of gum, an Amplified Bible, a series of airline tickets , my name-tag,
the keys to the Aveo and a copy of “Inheritance of Loss” – –
ouch. Can you say sore shoulder?